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iPhones swamp Duke University hot spots

updated 02:35 pm EDT, Tue July 17, 2007

iPhones swamp hot spots

iPhones appear to be flooding wireless access points at Duke University, knocking anywhere from 12 to 30 hot spots offline at a time. reports that 18,000 requests per second from the built-in 802.11b/g iPhone wireless adapters periodically flood sections of the university's wireless network with MAC address requests, taking down numerous access points simultaneously. Network staff on campus are working with Cisco, the primary wireless LAN provider, and Apple to resolve the issue but have so far come up empty handed. "Because of the time of year for us, it's not a severe problem," said Kevin Miller, the assistant director of communications infrastructure at Duke's Office of Information Technology. "But from late August through May, our wireless net is critical. My concern is how many students will be coming back in August with iPhones? It's a pretty big annoyance, right now, with 20-30 access points signaling they're down, and then coming back up a few minutes later. But in late August, this would be devastating."

The campus wireless network has around 150 registered iPhones, and the flooding occurs when the devices repeatedly request the MAC address of an invalid router address. Miller doesn't know where the 'bad' router address is coming from, but the iPhones appear to start flooding the network after they have lost their wireless connection to one hot spot and reconnect at another location.

"I don't believe it's a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form," Miller said, adding that so far communications with Apple have been "one-way."

Apple did tell Miller that the problem is being escalated, but a response is yet to come from the Cupertino-based company about its alleged misbehaving iPhones.

by MacNN Staff




  1. aaronmarks

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple Support

    Unless they are calling Apple and they have a $50k contract with them or better; they can expect to get little to no support.

    Apple could care less as long as they are selling their phones. Stability is not a top priority as long as it works most of the time.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple could care less?

    So you think apple wants to see iPhones banned at universities or other wi-fi hot spots? Do you really think they want that kind of press?

    This is typical of most companies. I'm sure they are looking into the issue themselves. If they communicate publicly with Duke or anyone else, then information gets passed around, rumors get started, etc... And we all know Apple doesn't want that.

  1. krispie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    COULD care less?

    Not a very sensible post, Mr Marks. Apart from saying "could care less" when you mean "couldn't care less", Apple certainly don't want to see potential bugs in their DHCP client getting them barred from places.

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    uh ---

    Since this isnt happening anywhere else, I would think its a location-specific problem.

    So, big-shot IT guys, lets go - fix the problem!! Like so many universities, you can bet the IT dept. at Duke is filled with a bunch of semi-incompetents that couldn't cut it in the "corporate" world. (Duke's uppity reputation notwithstanding.)

    Really, do IT people actually ever DO anything, or do they just complain and then bring in consultants. Of course, it is NEVER because they are doing something wrong.

  1. limey1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    fingers all around...

    "I don't believe itís a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form," Miller said, adding that so far communications with Apple have been "one-way."

    Yeah, let's start the finger pointing before we know what's causing the problem. A very good way to foster cooperation from the principals involved.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Problem fixed with iPhone

    I notice that when the problem is fixed and it was a Cisco router issue nothing get posted.

    Easy to bash a company but lets report all the facts

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